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In LA VIOLETERA, a lavish Italo-Spanish co-produced musical (a rarity) in itself, Spanish entertainment legend (singer, actress, cabaret performer, etc.) Sarita Montiel is at her zenith. This film, released in 1958 was a sensation in the Spanish speaking world, and newer generations know it and see it over and over again with their kids. Today it is, of course, very dated, and so melodramatic as to seem like a spoof. However, in its time, the film emulated Hollywood musicals and melodramas, and succeeded. It features very popular songs, and displays typically Spanish (Madrid) folklore. LA VIOLETERA came on the heels of EL ULTIMO CUPLE's success (in 1957), and cemented Sarita Montiel as the Spanish Judy Garland and Lana Turner, all in one. She was also the Spanish world's greatest sex symbol at a time of extreme repression. Still in late 1999, at age 68 to 70, she still tours worldwide, sings and dances up a storm. A nostalgic trip worth experiencing!
In Madrid, on the New Year's Eve of 1900, the violet street vendor
Soledad (Sara Montiel) meets the rich noble Fernando (Raf Vallone) and
they immediately fall in love for each other. Their difference of
classes and the prejudice of the high society of Madrid cause a tragedy
in the family of Fernando, forcing their separation.
When I was a boy, I recall how my mother loved this movie. Today I have had the chance to watch it on DVD and it is a delightful classic love story. The romance is very beautiful, showing a tough fight of classes and prejudice in the beginning of the Twentieth Century in Spain. Sarita Montiel is amazingly gorgeous, and have a wonderful chemistry with Raf Vallone. The music score is dated in the present days, but it is still very beautiful, highlighting the title song with the magnificent interpretation of Sarita Montiel. The rare DVD released in Brazil by New Line has many problems mainly with the image, but the distributor issued a warning on the cover advising the consumers about these defects on the available matrix of the film. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "La Violetera"
i just happened to see this movie on a Spanish TV station and i must
say the picture was stunning.They have done a great restoration of this
This movie is all about Sara Montiel,the story is pretty naive but no more than more modern rom-coms,it works well with the emotion Sara brings to her performances when Vallone,the man she loves but she feels has offended her is sitting in the audience. But the star is the thing here,she was gorgeous at the time and her voice in top form.I disagree with the other poster who says the music is dated,these are all classic songs.Classic songs don't date,they are just songs of another era.La violetera is dated?i don't think so. The funny thing is the beginning of the story is set in 1900,and she sings songs that were written decades later.Anyway.its a must to see the stunning Sara at the peak of her looks and vocal powers.
After El Ultimo Cuplé, Montiel tells in her autobiography, signed three contracts: one with Benito Perrojo, another with Cesáreo González and one more with the Bacázar Bothers, for the making of 3 films with each one, getting for each movie 35 million of pesetas or 1 million dollars "...long before Elizabeth Taylor". La Violetera, she says "was more of a fairy tale story" but gave her the opportunity to choose the "right songs" as well her dresses and the decoration. An enormous success and "her favorite personal film", the Jose Padilla's "La Violetera" theme song was used long before in a movie: by Charles Chaplin in City Lights (1931). Many years later, like 30 or so, she would sing again this theme for a CD titled "Pusísimo", with her friend and famous opera singer Montserrat Caballé. Of course, it's a terrible and easy-to-forget version for both. It's in my opinion, that "La Violetera" is her first movie in which we can see how the camp myth is born since she was able to do whatever she wanted to do, including sort of self directing, so its no wonder that after this nice and corny film, she became more and more camp until she transformed herself in a Spanish Mae West but never the less, a diva.
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